Calan Mai free folk festival in Cardiff

News from the Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff Bay:

"We’re kick-starting the summer at Wales Millennium Centre with the return of Calan Mai, our annual free folk music festival.

This year’s Calan Mai will be curated by the celebrated Welsh artist Patrick Rimes  of Calan, and will bring together the very best folk musicians in two days of music, dancing and festivities.

If you can't make it down here, our Calan Mai events will also be streamed live on our website:  "

Sunday 1 May
Glanfa | 1.30pm - 7pm | Free
1.30pm Panel Discussion including trac's Director, Danny KilBride:
'The folk scene in Wales – where next?'
2pm Lowri Evans
3pm Olion Byw
4pm Frank Hennessy & Friends
5pm Nantgarw
More acts to be announced soon

Monday 2 May
Glanfa | 1pm - 6pm | Free
1pm Kizzy Crawford
2pm Elinor Evans
3pm Carwyn Ellis
4pm Elfen
More acts to be announced soon

Blas: free online Welsh folk music 24/7

Welsh folk music now has its own online 'radio' station, streaming tracks all day every day for free, to your choice of listening device. The creation of fiddle maker/producer/ musician Gerard Kilbride, the station has a roster of almost a hundred artists: mostly traditional, mostly from Wales, all of interest to fans of good folk music with a Welsh flavour. The schedule is constantly evolving, and currently has daily slots for songs, material from the archives, strictly traditional, new folk and 'a bit of everything'.

Blas brands itself as "Championing Welsh Folk Music & Musicians" and welcomes submissions of music from more Welsh artists. You can listen online here or using apps such as TuneIn or Reciva


Sesiwn Fach

A statement from trac's Director, Danny KilBride, on behalf of the Trustees and staff of trac
trac notes with sadness the end of BBC Radio Cymru’s Sesiwn Fach. With the presenter Idris Morys Jones, it offered a window into our traditions, our musicians, and more importantly, our songs. It was the only Welsh language programme concentrating on our indigenous music and built a small but loyal audience of musicians and fans alike. Idris is a consummate professional and we are sure that he will soon rejoin our airwaves with something equally suited to his warmth and passion for Welsh culture.
We understand the reasons the BBC have ended the show but we are hopeful for positive changes from Radio Cymru. The interim arrangement with Georgia Ruth - a hour-long section of her programme focusing on Canu Gwerin - guarantees at least an hour of our music on our national broadcaster and is available on BBC Radio Player.
I went to talk this over in person with BBC Radio Cymru. We wanted to let them know that trac could not welcome the loss of Sesiwn Fach without plans to ensure that the folk music of Wales is heard on our main Welsh-language broadcaster. We had a wide-ranging discussion about content, playlists and how to bring folk music from a “specialist ghetto” into the mainstream music listings for the station. It is an ongoing conversation where ideas are tested, refined and re-imagined before becoming more concrete.
“Folk, roots and traditional music” commands a significant proportion of our audience, certainly double that of jazz and four times more popular than opera and classical music and in our Welsh speaking communities the measurable gap between Canu Gwerin and other genres is not as significant in Anglophone communities because we “own” our traditions in different ways. This partially explains the success of Tŷ Gwerin, trac's flagship partnership with Eisteddfod Genedlaethol Cymru.
But we need to keep up the work to bring our traditions into our national life and that means finding new ways of presenting it on Radio Cymru, Radio Wales and all our broadcast networks. “We” the Cymry, whatever language we speak, are the oldest of the communities that make up Britain and our voices need to be heard as equals.

Young folkies at Gwerin Gwallgo - see the video

Gwerin Gwallgo/Folk Frenzy is trac's annual youth course for musicians, singers and cloggers. This year's course, held in the Urdd centre at Glan Llyn on Bala Lake, was as lively as ever. There's more on the background to the course here, or watch the video to get a flavour of how much folk talent is developing in Wales.





The Bigger Picture: Business skills day for musicians

Cardiff, Saturday 26 March, 10.00 - 4.30
A hands-on workshop delivered by business adviser, artist and musician Dr. Maria Hayes

This one-day course will include:
•    Looking at the career pattern for creative self-employment
•    Deciding when and how to go self-employed
•    Time management and work options
•    Business basics
•    Money - National Insurance, tax, keeping and submitting accounts
•    Marketing and networking

For information: the training will be delivered in English

Places are limited: book here
Tea & coffee are provided; bring a packed lunch
Venue: Community Music Wales, Unit 8, 24 Norbury Rd, Cardiff CF5 3AU

Welsh music ready for Folk Alliance International, USA

 FAI2016 slider2

Four of Welsh folk music's brightest acts are off to the US in February to showcase their music at the Folk Alliance International conference in Kansas City. Lleuwen Steffan, Plu, The Gentle Good and Calan all have official showcases at the huge event, the biggest trade fair for folk and traditional music. The Horizons Suite will host additional showcases featuring UK acts and guests.

The conference hosts two thousand showcases over four days, and the Welsh artists and trac staff supporting them are part of a bigger British delegation under the banner Horizons - A World of Music from the UK. trac Director Danny KilBride said "trac has been working on this for some years - attending the conference, building relationships with contacts overseas and preparing the way for Welsh acts. We're looking forward to sharing just some of the talent Wales has to offer." trac Manager, Blanche Rowen, will be running the trade fair stand and Danny will jointly run the Horizons Suite with our partner organisations.

It's all been made possible by funding from the Arts Council of Wales and Wales Arts International. Our partners in the delegation are British Underground, which helps promote UK music abroad, and the English Folk Dance & Song Society which is also taking out a number of acts. In past years trac has hosted Calan, Olion Byw, Siân James, Gwenan Gibbard, Gwyneth Glyn, Lowri Evans, DnA, and Chris Jones at the FAI Horizons Suite.

Our performers this year:

FAInews calanCalan

Calan brings together the remarkable talents of five young musicians giving a fresh and vibrant sound to traditional Welsh music. With sparkling melodies, foot tapping tunes and featuring spirited and energetic Welsh step dancing, they blast their way through reels, jigs and hornpipes before melting into beautiful and haunting songs. They've recently returned home triumphant from two sell-out tours of the US and Canada.

Thursday 18th at 15.30 at Horizons, Regent's Suite, 5th Floor
Friday 19th at 22.30 at Horizons, Regent's Suite, 5th Floor
Saturday 20th at 19.15 Official showcaseat Century C Ballroom
Saturday 19th at 00.30 at Horizons, Regent's Suite, 5th Floor


FAInews LleuwenLleuwen

Singer, songwriter and guitarist Lleuwen Steffan works not only in English and Welsh, but in French and Breton too. She has sung contemporary interpretations of old Welsh hymns, described as 'The most unusual, strangely beautiful album that you're likely to hear.' Her debut solo album Penmon, focusing around the ebb and flow of the Welsh landscape, gained great reviews internationally. She went on to live, work and record her third album in Brittany, winning Liet International ( for one of her Breton language songs, Ar Gouloù Bev, before returning recently to Wales. An interceltic gem, not to be missed.

Wednesday 17th at 01.30 at Horizons, Regent's Suite, 5th Floor
Friday 19th at 01.30 at Horizons, Regent's Suite, 5th Floor
Saturday 19th at 14.00 ITR at Folk Music Canada, Room 751
Saturday 20th at 19.45 Official showcase at Pershing East/West Ballroom


FAInews GarethThe Gentle Good

The Gentle Good is the stage-name of songwriter Gareth Bonello, who draws on the poetry and melodies of his native country to create beautiful modern folk music in both English and Welsh.
As a performer Gareth is well-travelled and versatile, most often performing solo but sometimes with a full band and string quartet. A skilled guitarist, Gareth’s intricate playing has prompted many to draw comparisons with the great guitar pickers of the 1960s UK folk revival. In 2009 Gareth was chosen to perform at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington DC. Since then he's performed all over the world, from car parks and bars in Austin, Texas to solo performances at the Forbidden City Concert Hall in Beijing.

Wednesday 17th at 00.30 ITR at Horizons, Regent's Suite, 5th Floor
Thursday 18th at 00.30 at Horizons, Regent's Suite, 5th Floor
Friday 19th at 14.00 ITR at Folk Music Canada, Room 751
Saturday 19th at 15.30 ITR at Horizons, Regent's Suite, 5th Floor
Saturday 20th at 19.15 Official showcase at Roanoke Ballroom


FAInews PluPlu

Sibling trio Elan, Marged and Gwilym Rhys, from the mountains of North Wales, play Welsh language alternative folk music with hints of country/ Americana and a back-bone of close three part harmonies. As well as their own material Plu play modern interpretations of traditional songs from Wales. They have three albums to their name including a captivating album of songs for children and Gwilym is a solo artist too. Plu (say "plee") means 'feathers' in Welsh, and their live performances blend exquisite music with quirky charm.

Thursday 18th at 14.30 at Horizons, Regent's Suite, 5th Floor
Friday 19th at 23.30 at Horizons, Regent's Suite, 5th Floor
Saturday 20th at 10.00 Official showcase at Pershing South Ballroom

There's a Youtube playlist of all the UK performers here and a Soundcloud playlist here.

FAI delegates - we're looking forward to seeing you at the Horizons Suite or our official showcases, or come and meet us at the Exhibit Hall in Century A/B on the Ballroom Floor - we're at Booth 303. Look for "Horizons - A World of Music from the UK". You're also invited to meet the artists at a reception at the Horizons Suite on Thursday between 4.00 pm and 5.00 pm.

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